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Former Watford City, N.D., businessman awaiting trial in murder-for-hire plot tries to escape

OKANE, Wash. — Spokane County Jail confirmed Thursday that the FBI is at the jail investigating a possible escape attempt by former Watford City, N.D., businessman James Henrikson, who is awaiting trial in a murder-for-hire plot involving his old partner in the oil fields of North Dakota.

Authorities told KREM 2 News in Spokane that Henrikson, 36, busted out a window and tried to use sheets as a rope to escape from the building.

A Spokane County official said jail staff noticed the bed sheet rope coming out of a fifth floor, cell window at around 4:40 a.m. Staff placed the jail in lockdown and cordoned off the area with the help of the Spokane Police Department and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

Corrections Officers were able to immediately account for the two occupants of the cell who cooperated when moved to other locations in the jail according to officials. All other inmates were accounted for just after 5 a.m. 

Since both inmates in the cell are federal inmates, the FBI was notified to investigate the incident. Spokane County officials said with the information gathered at this time, it is not clear if one or both of the inmates were involved with the escape attempt. 

Authorities said the rope used was made up of several torn pieces of bed sheets that were tied together. Inmates have regular weekly access to clean bedding as well as dirty laundry hampers located in their housing units. 

It would not be the first attempted escape by the murder-for-hire suspect. 

In July, federal prosecutors were seeking to include evidence he hatched an escape plan from the Spokane County Jail. Prosecutors allege that Henrikson attempted to recruit others to assist in escaping the jail in return for a hefty cash payment. 

Henrikson is currently awaiting trial in a murder-for-hire plot involving Henrikson and his old business partner, Doug Carlile. Carlile, 63, was shot by an intruder on Dec. 15, 2013, in the kitchen of his house in an upscale Spokane, Wash., neighborhood after returning from church. 

Prosecutors believe Timothy Suckow, of Spokane, is the gunman. Court documents said Suckow, who is charged with murder, committed the homicide in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner that involved torture or serious physical abuse to the victim. 

Henrikson has told investigators that Carlile owed him nearly $1.9 million for their dealings in Kingdom Dynamics, an oil development firm. 

Court documents filed in 2014 show Henrikson had business dealings with Carlile in a North Dakota oil patch business. 

The former Watford City businessman is also accused of arranging the murder of Kristopher Clarke, an employee of Henrikson’s who disappeared in 2012, and of conspiring to murder Jay Wright, Jed McClure and Tim Scott, all colleagues of his. 

Clarke, a former employee of the Blackstone trucking company headquartered in Watford City, disappeared in early 2012 from a truck operation in Mandaree, N.D., and his family has long pointed at Henrikson as the culprit. 

In Henrickson’s earlier planned escape this past July, court recorders stated that prosecutors said the alleged plot by Henrikson then to escape should be “admissible as evidence of consciousness of guilt, and thus guilt itself.” 

Prosecutors said Henrikson reached out to another inmate in early January that was in the jail cell next to him. That inmate told prosecutors “[Henrikson] attempted to recruit him to get a ‘team together’ to assist Henrikson escape from custody while being transported for his ‘next court date’” 

Prosecutors said the inmate told them Henrikson’s plan was to have this team of individuals attack the United States Marshal’s van during transportation using “guns, grenades, and squirt guns full of gasoline” Prosecutors said the inmate was interviewed by U.S. Marshal’s agents, and offered to wear a wire to get a recording of Henrikson. Court documents showed that the inmate was offered $500,000 up front for helping Henrikson escape. Documents also stated Henrikson told the inmate there was another inmate allegedly involved in the escape. 

According to prosecutors, the inmate told them that Henrikson said he would kick the door of the van real hard so the escape team would know where he was after the smoke had cleared from burning the van. 

Documents also stated the inmate told prosecutors Henrikson said he planned to travel overseas where he had “a rich uncle in Turkey.” The inmate was released from custody shortly after his conversation with Henrikson, court documents show. 

The inmate told prosecutors after his release he was approached by two Hispanic males while the former inmate and his mother were shopping at Wal-Mart. According to court documents, the two men approached the former inmate and asked him about Henrikson’s escape plan and if the former inmate was getting things ready. 

Prosecutors said the former inmate told the two men he was not interested. 

Federal prosecutors said they are also wanting to admit notes allegedly written by Henrikson that were located in the cover of a book found in Henrikson’s jail cell. 

Court documents said Henrikson wrote out the following: 

“Dk come see you-perfect plan” 

“No Texts-no phone calls unless They get Prepaid Phones-” 

“Will Kick Door-Follow Truck-car to Hospitle” 

“Two cops only or Two USMS”

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